Chris Stapleton Honors Tom Petty With ‘Learning to Fly’ [WATCH]
Chris Stapleton played a cover of Tom Petty‘s “Learning to Fly” on Oct. 5 in Moline, Ill., to honor the late rock icon. Readers can press play above to watch Stapleton lead his audience in a moving sing-a-long days after Petty’s untimely death at the age of 66.
Petty died on Oct. 2, after suffering a heart attack at his home in Malibu, Calif., early that morning. Before performing “Learning to Fly,” Stapleton spoke to his audience about Petty, and how he “couldn’t believe” he had died.
“I played with Tom Petty earlier this year,” Stapleton told the crowd, “and the last thing he said to me was, ‘I hope we get an opportunity to do this again.’ And I left there thinking that we might. And I sure am sad that I won’t get to.”
Stapleton invited the crowd to sing along with him as he launched into “Learning to Fly,” one of Petty’s well-known hits. After its release as a single in 1991, the song became a No. 1 track.
Stapleton is one of a number of performers across all genres who have offered tributes to Petty and his lasting influence on music. Country artists including Marty Stuart, Kip Moore and Dan + Shay have all remembered Petty with live performances, but one of the most poignant tributes came from Jason Aldean: The country superstar covered Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” on Saturday Night Live. News of Petty’s death came on the heels of the tragic Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting that occurred during Aldean’s festival-closing set late on Oct. 1.
Country Artists Mourn Tom Petty